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EU Still Pushing For Ireland To Collect Apple Tax Bill

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

10 November 2017


The EU's Competition Commissioner has said that there has been "no indication" as to the time scale on which the Irish Government intends to collect the money involved in the Apple state aid case.

In September 2016, a Commission investigation concluded that two tax rulings provided by the Irish Government had "substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991." It estimated the amount of illegal state aid to be recovered by the Irish authorities at around EUR13bn (USD15.2bn), plus interest.

The deadline for Ireland to recover the money expired in January 2017. In October, the Commission referred Ireland to the EU Court of Justice for its failure to do so.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's Competition Commissioner, told the Irish Independent that the Commission has had "no indication when it comes to the time perspective in recovering the unpaid taxes from Apple."

Both the Irish Government and Apple have appealed the Commission's ruling. In July, Ireland launched a procurement process for an escrow agent/custodian for the escrow account into which the sums are intended to be placed. The sums would only be released once the European courts have issued their final ruling on the Government's appeal.

Vestager said that the Irish Government has made progress "when it comes to figuring out how to deal with such amounts of recovered taxes," and that she respects the complexities of "how to keep EUR13bn while the court case takes place."

However, Vestager said that there must be progress "when it comes to making the recovery." She pointed out that recoveries have been made by Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg in similar tax cases, and that Ireland must be expected to do the same.

TAGS: court | compliance | tax | tax compliance | Belgium | Ireland | Netherlands | tax avoidance | interest | corporation tax | Luxembourg | multinationals | European Union (EU) | Europe

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